Fortunato, over on the Campaign Builders Guild, had a couple of questions about vortexes and Texas Rangers. This is the Q&A.
Q1: About vortexes, do they open anywhere at random or are they confined in some way?
A1: There’s a lot about vortexes that is simply unknown. Right now, the best guess is that they can open basically anywhere, and apparently at random. No one has been able to prove or disprove this.
Q2: Can one open or close a vortex?
A2: So far as is known, no one can create a vortex (they seem to be a spontaneous magical phenomenon). However, it is possible to collapse one, using a specially designed technomagical devisement.
BP soldiers (and similar services in the Outlaw, like Texas Rangers) are specially trained to enter vortexes and close them. (After which, they are ejected from the Beyond.) Guns with that training can command premium fees.
Q3: Any more details on the Texas Rangers?
A3: Texas is the largest non-Fed polity in North America (measured by territory, population, and wealth). It is one of the two exporting oil states (the other being South Dakota), and so has the wealth to arm and equip a sizable internal security force and self-defense force (an army). The Rangers are their internal police and security force.
(One note of irony: since both polities lay claim to the mantle of the former US, they both fly the Stars-and-Stripes. If the Fed and Texas ever go to war, both armies will be flying the same flag and fighting in the name of the same country.)
The Rangers were instrumental in maintaining order during the Collapse, through the addition of thousands of deputies. Local jurisdictions were bolstered by roving bands of Rangers, who successfully maintained order during the mass exodus from urban centers (roughly 6 million refugees, in Texas’ case). Aggressive intervention in confrontations maintained public order and kept internecine violence in Texas at nearly the lowest level in the continental US. (The lowest being Utah.)
(Famine took its toll, and there were a few food riots, but nothing like plagued California. Then again, California’s problems were of a much greater magnitude. Incompetence made the LA death march more lethal than might have been otherwise, but nothing could have prevented it.)
The public loved the Rangers, and through them the government in Austin. This kept Texas intact, when so many other states fell apart.
After the Collapse, the Rangers’ role in internal security was increased, and their increased numbers were ratified by Austin. Any Texas city that had local problems they couldn’t manage could call upon the Rangers for assistance.
In the aftermath of Emergence, the Rangers were assigned the duty of patrolling vortexes. (Much like the Border Patrol in the Fed.) The Rangers train extensively for this, and even cross train with the BP. (Both Austin and the Fed dislike this arrangement, but the commanders of both forces are given wide latitude to carry out their mission, and sharing tips and tactics between the forces has improved their effectiveness greatly.)
Texas is one of the few polities to officially recognize Guns, and (through the Rangers) even offer a charter service for Gun companies. By agreeing to abide by Texas laws and a professional code of conduct, Guns can be officially licensed and chartered. (There are even bonding companies who cover Guns.) Texas-licensed Guns are in high demand, and command higher fees.
The Rangers maintain a job board for Guns, a clearinghouse for information about who is hiring in Texas and surrounding areas. When a situation is bad, but not so bad as to require the Rangers’ intervention, they recommend that local jurisdictions hire licensed Guns.